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Finding yourself in Fantasy

Reading was my life line when I was younger. There have been a few brief years ( for personal reasons) that I couldn't read, and I think my life was bleak and empty.

That was the reason I started writing my own novel. To some extent, I needed the characters to fill the quiet moments in my life. The works I love the most have engaging tangible characters. I loved with them, cried with them and feared with them. They were family. I have re-read Anne Bishops black jewels trilogy a dozen times, she gave me a family.

So I was more than happy to have a set of characters talking to me at all hours of the day or night when the inspiration for my book started. No I'm not saying they really talk to me, hold onto your pysch medication. But as time went on, more and more details began to fall into place for all of them. I hope, that in this blog, I can add so many details about Beluvial and the characters that just don't fit into the narrative of the books. Yes there will be books, book two is already on paper.

One of the most interesting moments for a writer is creating your protagonist. Characterisation is the filling to your pastry, the cheese to your sandwhich, the jelly to your ... you get it, right? Your guy. Your girl? Which brings me back to fantasy.

My dad once read a book in a popular series that I was obsessed with in my teens. It was a novel by Laurel K. Hamilton, an amazing writer I had to part ways with. In brief her style didn't work for me, but she's got more talent in her big toe than me so she can do what she wants. But he was shocked by the content. Vampires, magic, twisted plots ... he asked me why I was reading this 'stuff'. My answer then was as simple as it is now. The protagonist was a woman I could relate to.

She was kind but strong, snarky but tactful, common but full of nobility. Add magical ability into the mix, and you had a powerhouse. In the 1990's I didn't see woman superheros, except in comic books, science fiction and fantasy.

So Amara came to me really quietly. She came after Keirin, after Beluvial and the world where I wanted all the mythical gods to intersect. She strolled quietly through the door, with nothing to prove. I know already what she will accomplish, so does she.

One of my most questionable moments in the story was writing about her personal struggles as a woman. What I believe happened, was me finding a voice through her to visit my own personal struggles, my own trauma. I didn't want her to be the tragic plot line, that some terrible thing had to happen to her to advance the plot. Surely her magic could save her, surely I could make it right in the fictional world. I couldn't, she went through things in the human world that broke her for a time. But she didn't need magic to be ok, she didn't need tragedy in order to become the powerful being she is destined to be. She had all of that inside her already.

Some day I may face criticism for what happened to Amara on her journey. But she taught me that it was an event that didn't define her. She wasn't forever changed or broken. She was a survivor who put the past in it's place. Who still wanted to find joy and embrace life, who made every moment count. She knew all that about herself before she even received a touch of magic.

She taught me that every woman is the same as her. We are the Jelly in the doughnut, we are complete and whole and no magic can define or enhance us. It just makes one hell of a good story.

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